Today is Melanoma Monday!
This is an important day for all of us at Tareen Dermatology, as it gives us the opportunity to remind our patients that although melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, it can be prevented with good sun protection and easily treated when caught early. We recommend that all of our patients have what we refer to as a ‘full body skin exam’ once a year, so that we can monitor your skin for new or changing moles. If you have had a skin cancer previously, we may even recommend that you come in more frequently. During this visual exam, we identify lesions or moles on your skin that should be monitored or removed for evaluation.
So why is it so important to be monitored for melanoma (and other skin cancers)?
The reason we recommend the once year skin exam is because melanoma can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 87,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in 2017 alone. Although melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it is the most common cause of death from skin cancer. It is estimated that nearly 10,000 people will die of melanoma in 2017, that’s approximately one person every hour.
We don’t share these facts and statistics from the American Cancer Society to scare you; we share them with you to remind you of the importance of regular dermatology visits to screen for melanoma and other skin cancers. Your risk of melanoma can increase due to factors like genetics, history of multiple sunburns and tanning bed use; however, a recent study by The Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that the daily use of sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent!
What can you do at home to monitor your skin for melanoma?
Great question! Performing self-checks at home is an important way to catch a new or changing mole. If you notice something new or changing, we recommend scheduling an appointment for evaluation with one of our Tareen Dermatology providers right away.
Here is what we recommend you look for when checking your skin at home – we call this the ABCDEs of Melanoma:
A – Asymmetry
B – Border Irregularity
C – Color Variation
D – Diameter greater than 6mm
E – Evolving (does that mole look different than it did last year?)
On this Melanoma Monday, please remember to schedule your yearly skin exam at Tareen Dermatology and make a pledge to practice safe sun habits to protect yourself and your loved ones in 2017.